- I've used Robinhood, it's really easy and you can get started with low value stocks and then work your way up to investing more money when you get more comfortable using the product. It's as secure as your banking app, the only real downside is that it's not really made for day-trading due to the turnaround time (2-3 days I believe) of buying stocks. Also, Coinbase app if you're interested in investing some money into Bitcoin : )
- I've used Betterment since it was in beta. Highly recommend. I setup multiple accounts based on risk tolerance (how soon I may need the money). Then throughout the year prioritize what I invest in (max out retirement account first, then invest in taxable accounts). I recommend Ramit's I Will Teach You To Be Rich. I basically follow his strategy. I setup auto deposit to hit 1 day after I'm paid so it automatically invests for me after each paycheck & no need to think about it. I hear Wealthfront is awesome too, but I personally haven't tried it because Betterment has been great all a long.I'm a Betterment user since the early days as well. They are a great way to "set it and forget it" for investing long term. Although they just changed their pricing in a way that upset their early users, I still think their product is the easiest to use and provides the best visualizations.
- If you are comfortable managing your own money, you can go with Vanguard and do the portfolio setup, rebalancing, and adding funds by yourself. The reason people go with Vanguard is for the extremely low fees (0.19% average expense ratio). They do have a managed option with help from an advisor, although I haven't tried that service. Betterment & Wealthfront use Vanguard funds heavily in their portfolios.
- At the same time I started my Betterment account, I also signed up for Wealthfront to compare the two offerings. Initially, Betterment crushed the experience and design compared to Wealthfront. With the addition of Path, and other investing features, I've noticed an improvement in their design standards. Using the same strategy (Betterment 90% Stock / 10% Bond and Wealthfront Risk Score 9.0), my portfolios have performed roughly the same from Nov 2014 to now, but Betterment did better while charging me fees (my Wealthfront portfolio is below the point where they are charging me right now): Betterment: ☝️️ 10.6% time-weighted return Wealthfront: ☝️️ 9.82% time-weighed return I would not advise opening both. They use similar ETFs and try to harvest losses to minimize your taxes. You could have wash sales if the platforms do the opposite thing for you. You can't go wrong choosing either option.
- You will not save a ton of money this way but it is funny to see how much you can invest just by rounding up all of your change. I currently have a 9.12% return for YTD (so pretty good). I also have a recurring investment every week on top all the money that is rounded up. You can also get some money deposited into your account if you shop at one of their partners.